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8.

04: Quantum Mechanics Professor Allan Adams


Massachusetts Institute of Technology Wednesday April 10, 2013
Problem Set 8
Due Wednesday April 17, 2013 at 10.00AM
Assigned Reading:
E&R 7
all
, App
M,N
Li. 8
6
, 9
1,2,3
, 10
1,2,3
Ga. 7
all
, 8
1,4,5
Sh. 12
all
1.(15 points) Superposition State of a Free Particle in 3D
At time t=0, a free particle in 3d (V(x,y,z)=0) is in the superposition state,

3/2
i(5y+z)/L
(pr,0)= sin(3x/L)e .
2L
3/2
(a) If the energy of the particle is measured at t=0, what value is found?
(b) What possible values of the momentum p p= (p
x
, p
y
, p
z
) will measurement nd at
t=0 and with what probabilities will these values occur?
(c) Given the state (pr,0) above, what is(pr,t)?
i
(d) If p p is measured to be p p=
L
(3 e
x
+ 5 e
y
+ e
z
)at t=0, what is (pr,t)?
2 8.04: Problem Set 8
2. (15 points) Degeneracies
Suppose a system has some symmetry e.g. rotational symmetry. This means the energy
doesnt change upon acting with the symmetry e.g. if you rotate the system. This generally
implies that the set of energy eigenvalues is degenerate, i.e. that there are multiple inde-
pendent eigenstates sharing the same energy. The degeneracy of the system at some energy
refers to the number of energy eigenstates which share that energy eigenvalue.
(a) Consider a free particle in 1d with denite energy E =
i
2
k
2
.
2m
i. How many linearly independent states share this energy?
ii. What symmetry guarantees this degeneracy?
(b) Consider a 2d harmonic oscillator with frequencies
x
=
y
=.
i. What are the energy eigenvalues?
ii. What is the degeneracy of the n
th
eigenvalue?
iii. What symmetry guarantees this degeneracy?
(c) Now suppose we nudge the system so that
x
=(1 +f), with f1.
i. What are the new energy eigenvalues?
ii. Is the spectrum again degenerate?
iii. Plot the rst 6 eigenenergies as a function of f for 0.1f0.1.
iv. Whatistherelationshipbetweenthebreakingofsymmetryandthesplitting
of degeneracies?

3 8.04: Problem Set 8
3. (20 points) Mathematical Preliminaries: Angular Momentum Operators
Inclassicalmechanics,theangularmomentumL
p
=prp p isconservedinanyrotation-
ally symmetric system. In QM, the angular momenta are given by operators:
L

x
=yp
z
zp
y
, L

y
=zp
x
x p
z
, L

z
=x p
y
yp
x
.
(a) Using the basic commutator relations, [ x
a
, p
b
] =ii
ab
, show that
1
:
[L

y
, L

z
] =iiL

x
, [L

z
, L

x
] =iiL

y
, [L

x
, L

y
] =iiL

z
.
(b) ConsidertheoperatorL

2
=L

2
+L

2
+L

2
.Usingyourresultsabove,showthat
2
:
x y z
[L

z
, L

2
] = 0 .
Argue, without further calculation, that [L

x
, L

2
] and [L

y
, L

2
] must also vanish.
(c) Consider the ladder operators L

= L

x
iL

y
and L

+
= L

x
+iL

y
. Use the
above commutation relations to show that:
[L

z
, L

] =iL

, [L

2
, L

] = 0 .
WhatpropertiesoftheeigenvaluesofL

2
andL

z
followfromthesecommutators?
1
Thismattersbecauseoperatorswhichdonotcommutedonothavethesameeigenvectors! Moreprecisely,
given operators A and |([

B])

|. Since eigenstates correspond

and a state , it follows that AB


1
A,

to denite eigenvalues with zero uncertainty, a state can only be a simultaneous eigenstate of A and of
B

if ([

B])

= 0. In general, then, the commutator [L

x
, L
y
] = iiL

z
tells us that having a denite value A,

of L

x
means you generally dont have a denite value of L

y
just like having a denite position means not
having a denite momentum. See Shankar, Chapter 9, for a beautiful disquisition.
2
This matters because it tells us we can nd states with denite values of both L

2
and L

z
. Meanwhile,
as we discussed in lecture and as you can check by using
i
and working in spherical coordinates, p=ii
i
1 1
2
L

2
=i
2
sin + .
sin sin
2

2
Butthatsjusttheoperatorweranintoinlectureinsidetheenergyoperatorforacentralpotential! Indeed,
2 1 1

in spherical coordinates, p =
2
r+ L
2
. For central potentials, eigenstates of E are eigenstates of L

2
.
2
r r r


4 8.04: Problem Set 8
4. (15 points) Mathematical Preliminaries: Eigenfunctions of L

2
and L

z
In the previous problem we exploited the commutation relations amongst the coordinates and
their momenta to determine the commutation relations amongst the components of the an-
gular momentum. In this problem we will use the explicit coordinate representations of the
angularmomenta(L
i

=irpi =
i
ir
i
)insphericalcoordinatestostudy theeigenfunctions,
i
Y
lm
(,), of the angular momentum operators.
Working in spherical coordinates, L

2
and L

z
take the form,
1 1
2

=i
2
sin + , L
z
=ii .
sin sin
2

and the rst few spherical harmonics, Y


lm
, take the form,

1 3 3
Y
0,0
= , Y
1,0
= cos , Y
1,1
= sine
i
.
4 4 8
(a) Showthatthesefunctionsareproperlynormalizedandorthogonaltooneanother.
(b) ShowthatthesefunctionsareeigenfunctionsofbothL

2
andL

z
,andcomputethe
corresponding eigenvalues.
(c) Construct Y
42,41
.
5 8.04: Problem Set 8
5. (15 points) Angular Momenta and Uncertainty
The commutator relations you derived in Problem 3 above imply an important set of
uncertainty relations amongst the angular momenta,
i i i
L
x
L
y
|(L

z
)|, L
y
L
z
|(L

x
)|, L
z
L
x
|(L

y
)|.
2 2 2
Consider a particle in a normalized eigenstate of L

2
and L

z
, Y
lm
and (|)=1.
(a) Show that in this case (L
x
)=(L
y
)=0. Hint: use the operators L

+
and L

.

(b) Show that (L
2
)=(L
2
)=
i
2
[l(l+1)m
2
]. Hint: use L
2
=L
2
+L

2
+L

2
.
y x
2
x y z
(c) Usingyourresults,verifytherstuncertaintyrelationabove. Cantheuncertainty
in any two components ofL
p
ever vanish simultaneously?
6 8.04: Problem Set 8
6. (20 points) Lifting the Degeneracy of the Quantum Rigid Rotor
ConsiderasphericallysymmetricrigidrotorwithmomentofinertiaI
x
=I
y
=I
z
=I.
For example, it might help to imagine Professor Evans curled up into a compact and
uniform sphere
3
and set spinning. Classically, his energy is given by,
L
p
2
E =
2I
(a) What are the energy eigenstates and eigenvalues for this quantum rigid rotor?
(b) What is the degeneracy of the n
th
energy eigenvalue?
NowsupposeProf. Evansgetssoreandstretchesabitsuchthathismomentofinertia
in the z direction becomes I
z
=(1 +f)I, with the other two moments unchanged.
(c) What are the new energy eigenstates and eigenvalues?
(d) Sketch the spectrum of energy eigenvalues as a function of f. For what sign of f
do the energy eigenvalues get closer together? Intuitively, why?
(e) What is the degeneracy of then
th
energy eigenvalue? Is the degeneracy fully
lifted? Ifso,explainwhyandsuggestawaytobreakonlysomeofthedegeneracy.
If not, explain why not and suggest a way to break all of the degeneracy.
3
A Yoga master, he is not, but strong with the centripetal force, he is.
MIT OpenCourseWare
http://ocw.mit.edu
8.04 Quantum Physics I
Spring 2013
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